TienaHealth Offers Prevention Tips and Advice

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

These words were never truer than they are now with the approach of flu season. This year, both seasonal influenza and H1N1, or swine flu, will be the cause of many school absences and missed days of work. However, there are measures to help you and your family avoid illness, and important precautions to prevent the spread of the flu if you or someone you know is ill.

First, the facts. Influenza is a seasonal respiratory infection that causes fever, cough, sore throat, congestion and body aches. Swine flu produces similar symptoms, but because it is caused by a novel virus to which most people do not have immunity, it is highly contagious.

Therefore, to increase immunity to both varieties of the flu, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends separate vaccinations against seasonal influenza and swine flu. Those at high-risk for either flu—young children, pregnant women, people older than 50, health care workers and those with long-term health problems for the seasonal flu; and people aged six months to 24 years, pregnant women, people aged 25 to 64 years with long-term illnesses, caregivers to the very young and health care workers for swine flu—are encouraged to get vaccinated early.

 

Swine Flu vaccine

Seasonal Flu vaccine

Young children

Pregnant women

People over 50

People aged 25yrs-64 yrs with long term health issues

Health care workers

People age 6mos-24 yrs

Caregivers to the young

“The swine flu vaccine should be available in October. Qualifying patients can come in to receive the first injection, and at the same time, receive their seasonal flu vaccination. After the CDC renders an official statement, we’ll know if the public will need a swine flu booster. Until then, we are recommending a single dose for people in the high risk categories.”    

Scott Conard, MD, Medical Director for TienaHealth 

Before and after the vaccine is available, there are everyday steps to protect your health:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. If a tissue isn’t available, cough into your elbow or shoulder, not your hand.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you sneeze or cough.  Alcohol-based hand sanitizers work well, too, when they are rubbed in until dry. Remind children to wash their hands for as long as it takes them to sing their ABCs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Keep a safe distance away—about three feet—from people who are sick.

If you or a loved one does become sick with the flu, stay home for at least 24 hours after a fever has ended. Rest and drink plenty of fluids. Have a supply of over-the-counter medicines, tissues and other needed items on hand to avoid making trips to the store. Tearani Williams, MD, suggests that over-the-counter medications include items to treat cough and congestion (Mucinex, Robitussin, etc.) and fever (Tylenol and Advil).  She adds that you should be aware of any worsening symptoms such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, purple discoloration of the lips, dizziness (a sign of dehydration), confusion, severe vomiting or seizures.

And, of course, if symptoms do worsen then don’t wait—get to a doctor.

TienaHealth’s mission is to help individuals add years to their life and life to their years by empowering them to take control of their health.  TienaHealth, your medical home, has two locations including Las Colinas, 7200 N. State Hwy 161, Suite 300, Irving, TX  75039 and Coppell, 546 E. Sandy Lake Rd., Suite 210, Coppell, TX  75019.  For more information or to make an appointment, go to www.tienahealth.com, or call 972-443-5300 (main) or Coppell direct at 469-671-3337.